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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


Everton midfielder Tim Cahill admits he is happy to remain the Toffees talisman as the Blues continue to struggle in front of goal.

Cahill's opener in the 2-2 draw with Sunderland on Monday night was his seventh of the season, meaning he has scored almost 50 per cent of Everton's 16 league goals.

And the Australian international revealed that he was happy to keep adding to his 52 Premier League goals to help his side up the table.

"For me, since I've been at this football club, I've built up a reputation as someone who wants to strive hard and try and be the heartbeat of the team," Cahill told evertontv.

"I'd like to be the one that sets the tone along with Phil Neville and players like that to lead the team.

"I've said time and time again, it's great when you're winning, but the most important time is when a team is at their worst and we're looking for some spark and the manager always asks for it," he added.

Cahill's goal at the Stadium of Light also provided further evidence of Leighton Baines' importance to the side.

The Blues left back provided yet another pin-point cross to help put the visitors ahead and Cahill believes the former Wigan man doesn't get the credit he deserves.

"He's probably one of our best performers, not just this season, but since he signed for the football club. His consistency as a footballer and a professional is top class," said Cahill.

"The main thing is he's not just a left back, he's a left back that gets forward and normally you think wingers are supposed to cross the ball," he continued.

"But if you look at the Sunderland goal, he wins a header, plays a one-two and makes sure he gets the ball in.

"I rely on Bainesy a hell of a lot and I'm sure the team do as well. When I see him with the ball I know it's all about finding the space - because he'll find me.

"He's a quiet achiever and I don't think he gets the accolades he deserves," admitted the Blues midfielder.

The Baines-Cahill combination worked to maximum effect the last time Everton played this weekend's visitors West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park.

In February 2009, Cahill turned in a Baines cross in a 2-0 win in a season which saw the Baggies relegated from the Premier League.

But under Roberto Di Matteo Albion have already won at Arsenal and drawn at Manchester United this term, and Cahill admits there are no longer any easy games.

"There are no small teams in this league, the main objective is to take it one game at a time. When we had our best success we only concentrated on the game we had that week," he said.

"It's not so much calling them a smaller or a bigger team, it's concentrating on our strengths and making sure we take that into the game.

"If we show a bit more grit and start bullying teams like we used to I think we'll come out on top."


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